Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World
'An elegant, thoughtful book . . . beautifully expresses the importance and experience of liberation from the battery-hen life of constant connection and crowds.' Daily Mail
'A compelling study of the subtle ways in which modern life and technologies have transformed our behaviour and sense of self.' Times Literary Supplement
In a world of social media and smartphones, true solitude has become increasingly hard to find. In this timely and important book, award-winning writer Michael Harris reveals why our hyper-connected society makes time alone more crucial than ever. He delves into the latest neuroscience to examine the way innovations like Google Maps and Facebook are eroding our ability to be by ourselves. He tells the stories of the remarkable people - from pioneering computer scientists to great nineteenth-century novelists - who managed to find solitude in the most unexpected of places. And he explores how solitude can bring clarity and creativity to each of our inner lives. Urgent, eloquent and beautifully argued, Solitude might just change the way you think about being alone.
'Speaks to a long-overdue conversation we still haven't properly had in our society.' Vice
'A timely, elegant provocation to daydream and wander.' Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall
'A poetic, contemplative journey into the benefits of solo sojourning.' Elle
"An elegant, thoughtful book . . . beautifully expresses the importance and experience of liberation from the battery-hen life of constant connection and crowds." * Daily Mail * "A compelling study of the subtle ways in which modern life and technologies have transformed our behaviour and sense of self . . . The strength of Harris's argument lies in his showing how seemingly harmless new technologies insidiously influence our ways of being . . . Harris proposes ways in which we can discover ourselves within an increasingly digitally connected world." * Times Literary Supplement * "I came away from this book a better human being. Michael Harris's take on existence is calm, unique, and makes one's soul feel good yet never once does he rely on feel-good techniques." -- Douglas Coupland "A timely, eloquent provocation to daydream and wander." -- Nathan Filer, author of THE SHOCK OF THE FALL "A poetic, contemplative journey into the benefits of solo sojourning. The book - which weaves together personal anecdotes and fascinating research - makes a convincing argument for stepping away from the crowd (and your even more crowded phone) and scheduling some soul-resetting me time." * ELLE * "Harris's book isn't preachy; rather, it recasts small lifestyle changes as part of a struggle to regain that sense of self . . . It speaks to a long overdue conversation we still haven't properly had in our society." * VICE * "Harris has an intuition that being alone with ourselves, paying attention to inner silence and being able to experience outer silence, is an essential part of being human . . . Thick with fact and argument and some fine writing." -- Paul Kingsnorth * New Statesman * "An insightful, lively meditation on why this increasingly scarce component of our lives should be preserved." * Globe and Mail * "Elegant, accessible and often hilarious." * Chicago Tribune * "Harris is always an engaging writer, easy to read and capable of expressing his arguments in memorable and helpful ways." * Quill & Quire * "An appealing patchwork of latest brain research, personal anecdote, journalistic reportage and sly but never cynical observation. It makes for a very readable melange." * Literary Review of Canada *
Michael Harris is the author of The End of Absence, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction and became a national bestseller in Canada. He writes about media, civil liberties and the arts for dozens of publications, including the Washington Post, Wired, Salon and the Globe and Mail. He lives in Vancouver.